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Tampa Bay Buccaneers optimistic QB Josh Freeman will play Sunday against Jacksonville Jaguars

TAMPA — QB Josh Freeman took a significant step in his recovery from an injured right shoulder, and the Bucs appear more optimistic he will play Sunday against the Jaguars.

Freeman, who sat out Sunday against the Panthers, resumed regular throwing during Thursday's practice. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Freeman felt good and was taken out only as a precaution.

A key will be how Freeman feels today. He had done only light throwing since hurting his shoulder on the final play against the Titans on Nov. 27. But coach Raheem Morris said Freeman was pretty much full-go Thursday.

"He went out and threw the ball pretty productively, felt pretty good," Morris said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: Morris did not have a lot of details on what the tests showed on CB Aqib Talib's injured hamstring, saying he's still day-to-day.

"Life goes on, even if we play this week without Aqib or the following week, whatever the case may be," Morris said. "We've got to perform. He's certainly a tough guy. We know his pain threshold is a lot higher than a lot of guys."

Morris also said DE Tim Crowder (concussion) went through the battery of mandatory tests and passed but is still suffering from "some issues", so his status remained unclear.

BEING BLOUNT: RB LeGarrette Blount had consecutive 100-yard rushing performances before getting 19 on 11 carries Sunday.

Part of that was the Panthers bringing extra players toward the line of scrimmage. But Olson said there also were some missed assignments "across the board" that plagued the running game.

Olson said he has been surprised by the lack of execution because the team did so well last season. He said he might have expected too much from some of the young players.

"Based upon where we felt we were at a year ago and coming into this season, I probably gave them a little too much credit … maturity-wise, and there are some things we're just not executing. And that falls on me," Olson said. "I just feel like we need to scale back, so we've got to be on the details of our assignments and got to execute better."

WIDE OPEN: The Jaguars have been hit hard by injuries with 21 players on season-ending injured reserve. And they're currently without their top three cornerbacks. Chargers QB Philip Rivers took advantage Monday night, completing 22 of 28 for 294 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-14 victory at Jacksonville.

Don't think the Bucs haven't noticed.

"Hopefully we can go out there and throw for 900 yards," WR Mike Williams said.

Williams said he has had fun teasing Jacksonville CB Ashton Youboty, who played with the Bucs during training camp, about Sunday's matchup.

"I told him … I can't wait to come out and play Jacksonville," Williams said.

Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker acknowledged his team gave up big plays Monday but said he has seen improvement the past couple of weeks.

"I have confidence in those guys that they can step in there and get the job done," he said.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabaytimes.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers optimistic QB Josh Freeman will play Sunday against Jacksonville Jaguars 12/08/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 8, 2011 8:17pm]

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